Blogging goes corporate, slowly

In my regular quest to see how many of my other 56,000 colleagues are weblogging, I found this article from Heiko Hebig titled Blogging at CGE&Y. He takes the opportunity of a recent article published by a German colleague to write that:

[...] the big consulting companies are looking into weblog publishing tools, possibly as affordable alternatives to larger scale CMS. It only took them 2 years to figure it out.

This assertion holds the usual cliché that big companies "never get it right" quickly. From the visible surface, on the Internet, there aren't that many corporate weblogs around, the "big consulting" arena being no exception. But if you get out of the weblog bubble for a second, you realize that weblogs, as a public phenomenon, are really recent (many prominent A-list webloggers started less than two years ago) and that many people, including us as a company, have been weblogging without knowing it. When we created our e-zine Focus four years ago, we had in mind a place where authors would publish articles and generate discussions around their points of view, a place really fostering discussions from our audiences (global audiences, we even translate the conversations in 4 different languages to reduce the language barrier to entry). When look at it today, it is a weblog with many authors, and if I had to redesign it now, I would definitely use a weblog system.

Additionally, there are other factors to put corporate weblogging in perspective:

  • there aren't prominent corporate weblog systems, yet. There are solutions around of course, but the prominent ones with a name and momentum, are still coming soon.
  • weblogging remains an individual, micro-publishing activity. I will spare you the cultural (or legal) frictions that this "individual vs. corporation" necessarily generates, save the fact that not everybody likes (or can) publish on a regular basis. The successful corporate weblogs around are mostly individual initiatives that took off out of the CEO's sight, and their success is tightly linked to the personal voice and communication skills of their authors. I don't know of any successful marketing attempt disguised as a weblog.
  • using weblog systems as CMS in some cases, as I wrote above, is feasible. But we are not in an ideal weblog as CMS world yet.
  • entering the corporate IT and KM worlds is not an easy task. Enterprise-class weblogs aren't there yet. And when they will, look out for the CIO's and the CKO's cultural shock!

By the way, I'm delighted to see that our former CKO has a weblog. Hello Ralph!

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